Lesson 47: The Gate of Immortality
I beg the reader's patience in the long quote below and encourage you to have the discipline to move your way through one of Death's last great replies to Savitri. It is important to allow yourself to feel the hopelessness to which Death refers, to feel the drowning of your soul when you have forgotten who you are, when joy has been replaced by suffering, when God has become nothing more than a myth.
"Behold the figures of this symbol realm,
It's solid outlines of created dream
Inspiring the great concrete tasks of earth.
In its motion-parable of human life
Here thou canst trace the outcome Nature gives
to the sin of being in the error in things
And the desire that compels to live
And man's incurable malady of hope.
In an immutable order's hierarchy
Where nature changes not, man cannot change;
Ever he obeys her fixed mutation's law;
In a new version of her oft-told tale
In ever-wheeling cycles turns the race.
His mind is pent in encircling boundaries:
For mind is man, beyond thought he cannot soar.
If he could leave his limits he would be safe;
He sees but cannot mount to his greater heavens;
Even winged the, he sinks back to his native soil.
He is a captive in his net of mind
And beats soul-wings against the walls of life.
In vain his heart lifts up its yearning prayer,
Peopling with brilliant Gods the formless Void;
Then disappointed to the Void he turns
And in its happy nothingness asks release,
The calm Nirvana of his dream of self:
The Word in silence ends, in Nought the name.
Apart amid the mortal multitudes,
He calls the Godhead incommunicable
To be the lover of his lonely soul
Or cast his spirit into its void embrace.
Or he finds his copy in the impartial All;
He imparts to the Immobile is unknown will,
Attributes to the Eternal wrath and love
And to the Ineffable lends a thousand names.
Hope not to call God down into his life.
How shall thou bring the Everlasting here?
There is no house for him in hurrying Time.
Vainly thou seekst in Matter's world an aim;
No aim is there, only a will to be.
All walk by Nature bound for ever the same.
Look on these forms that stay awhile and pass,
These lives that long and strive, then are no more,
These structures that have no abiding truth,
The Savior creeds that cannot save themselves,
But perish and the strangling hands of the years,
Discarded from man's thought, proved false by Time,
Philosophies that strip all problems bare
But nothing ever have solved since earth began,
And sciences omnipotent in vain
By which men learn of what the suns are made,
Transform all forms to serve their outward needs,
Ride through the sky and sail beneath the sea,
But learn not what they are or why they came;
Their polities, architectures of man's brain,
That, bricked with evil and good, wall in man's spirit
And, fissured houses, palace at once and jail,
But while they rain and crumble before they crash;
These revolutions, demon or drunken God,
Convulsing the wounded body of mankind
Only to paint in new colours an old face;
These wars, carnage triumphant, ruin gone mad,
The work of centuries vanishing in an hour,
The blood of the vanquished and the victor's crown
Which men to be born must pay for with their pain,
The hero's face divine on satyr's limbs,
The demon's grandeur mixed with the demigod's,
The glory and the beasthood and the shame;
Why is it all, the labor and the din,
The transient joys, the timeless sea of tears,
The longing and the hoping and the cry,
The battle and the victory and the fall,
The aimless journey that can never pause,
The waking toil, the incoherent sleep,
Song, shouts and weeping, wisdom and idle words,
The laughter of men, the irony of the gods?
Where leads the march, whither the pilgrimage?
Who keeps the map of the route or planned each stage?
Or else self-moved the world walks its own way,
Or nothing is there but only a Mind that dreams:
The world is a myth that happened to come true,
A legend told to itself by conscious Mind,
Imaged and played on a feigned Matter's ground
On which it stands in an unsubstantial Vast.
Mind is the author, spectator, actor, stage:
Mind only is and what it thinks is seen.
If Mind is all, renounce the hope of bliss;
If Mind is all, renounce the hope of Truth.
For Mind can never touch the body of Truth
And Mind can never see the soul of God;
Only his shadow it grasps nor hears his laugh
As it turns from him to the vain seeming of things.
Mind is a tissue woven of light and shade
Where right and wrong have sown their mingled parts;
Or Mind is Nature's marriage of convenance
Between truth and falsehood, between joy and pain:
This struggling pair no court can separate.
Each thought is a gold coin with bright alloy
And error and truth are its obverse and reverse:
This is the imperial mintage of the brain
And of this kind is all its currency.
Think not to plant on earth the living Truth
Or make of Matter's world the home of God;
Truth comes not there but only the thought of Truth,
God is not there but only the name of God.
If self there is it is bodiless and unborn;
It is no one is one it is possessed by none.
Oh what shalt thou then build thy happy world?
Cast off thy life and mind, then art thou Self,
An all seeing omnipresence stark, alone.
If God there is he cares not for the world;
All things he sees with calm indifferent gaze,
He is doomed all hearts to sorrow and desire,
He has bound all life with his implacable laws;
He answers not the ignorant voice of prayer.
Eternal while the ages toil beneath,
Unmoved, untouched by aught that he has made,
He sees as minute details amid the stars
The animal's agony and the fate of man:
Immeasurably wise, he exceeds thy thought;
His solitary joy he needs not thy love.
His truth in human thinking cannot dwell:
If thou desirest Truth, then still thy mind
For ever, slain by the dumb unseen light.
Immortal bliss lives not in human air:
How shall the mighty Mother her calm delight
Keep fragrant in this narrow fragile vase,
Or lodge her sweet unbroken ecstasy
In hearts which earthly sorrows can assail
And bodies careless Death can slay at will?
Dream not to change the world that God has planned,
Strive not to alter his eternal law,
If heavens there are whose gates are shut to grief,
There seek the joy thou couldst not fine on earth;
Or in the imperishable hemisphere
Where Light is native and Delight is king
And Spirit is the deathless ground of things,
Choose the highest station, child of Eternity.
If thou art Spirit and Nature is thy robe,
Cast off thy garb and be thy naked self
Immutable in its undying truth,
Alone for ever in the mute Alone.
Turn then to God, for him leave all behind;
Forgetting love, forgetting Satyavan.
Annul thyself in his immobile peace.
Oh soul, drowned in his still beatitude.
For thou must die to thyself to reach God's height:
I, Death, am the gate of immortality."
It would certainly seem that death is embedded at the cellular center of all living things. And yet, as evolution has demonstrated for ions, cells change. Is it possible that death, too, could change and be replaced by immortality?
The mind regards these higher considerations such as immortality as pleasant but unrealistic, imaginative but not practical and returns to its focus to the daily grind and the habitual. As Death says, "The world is a myth that happened to come true."
But there is an inner life that does not depend upon the physical world, does not require perceptions and the physical senses and is independent of the ups and downs of daily life. The inner life is not ruled by the mind and does not require the quest for passion, adventure, fulfillment and experience because it is whole and complete without them. But it can use the physical world as the realm of experiencing its entire breadth of wholeness and completion consciously and in a fully unified and integrated manner.
The reason it is so important to read Death's comments is that is gives you a profound understanding of the vast psychological ignorance you are up against in transforming your life and the acceptance of pain and suffering as just being the way life is. No, it is not. Savitri's victory over Death which is the same thing as your victory over depression or loneliness or whatever your shadow may be will not come from doing battle with Death but by abiding in Truth which is the same thing as Reality. You must learn to see through the shadow, through Death and in doing so, you will the begin walking a conscious path in this beautiful world and eventually, you will see the reality of realities. You will see that you are Truth, evolving in physical Time.
The conscious path is the effort of discovering the reality and substance of your existence in the physical, material world and how far and how much you are willing to learn about your beautiful, transcendent, divine Self. In doing so, you will see what was always there. You will see that Truth, not Death, is the gate to immortality. And and no matter what you do, no matter how long you delay, no matter how many lifetimes you will take to learn this, you cannot change that purpose of existence. You will one day see the Truth of who you are and what you are doing here and when you do, you will realize the immortal being that lies inside of you because that is who you are.
And when that happens, the gates of immortality have been opened.